Performance vs. Utility: What’s the Difference & How to Choose

May 30th, 2018 by

White 2019 Ram 1500 Pulling Trailer in Desert

Performance vs. utility – which do you need in your next car? A new, high-mpg compact car might be the smart choice for some Belleville drivers while others need a 4WD truck. The Smithton family may want a more spacious minivan while a family business owner may need the capabilities of an SUV. A high-torque RAM 1500 is not the same as a Dodge R/T-focused Challenger or Charger—they’re both ideal for different situations. We break down some key differences so you can find your next car, including:

  • Horsepower vs. Torque
  • All-Wheel Drive vs. 4-Wheel Drive vs. MPG
  • Off-Road vs. City Car
  • Interior Space vs. Cargo Room

Horsepower vs. Torque

Horsepower helps determine the top speed of a car, but if you’re looking to tow, torque should be a priority.

  • High Horsepower: Superior high-speed performance.
  • High Torque: Superior low-speed performance, able to tow and haul more, and more capable of getting out of sticky terrain.

All-Wheel Drive vs. 4-Wheel Drive vs. MPG

Even as vehicles get more efficient, all-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive affect your fuel bottom line. Most drivers know what they get in exchange for a few points of lost mpg, but here’s a quick rundown for your priorities:

  • All-Wheel Drive: AWD typically sends power to all 4 wheels as needed while operating in two-wheel drive in normal driving conditions for improved mpg.
  • 4-Wheel Drive: If you want complete control of your vehicle’s driving behavior, 4WD is the best choice since you activate the different driving modes manually.
  • MPG: If your budget is the top priority, you should stick with a two-wheel drive car — likely front-wheel drive unless you’re eyeing a sports car or a truck — as the engine uses less power, and thus less fuel, powering two wheels.

Off-Road vs. City Car

Where will you be driving? It’s going to affect plenty.

  • City Car: Mostly sticking to cities and highways? A car that’s tuned for performance will make your commute or road trip easier.
  • Off-Road: You’ll need different suspension to cope with the demands, plus a host of further additions — and we recommend 4-wheel drive. Being off-road-capable is the domain of utility vehicles. You can further enhance off-road capabilities with add-ons like /how-to-lift-your-jeep/lift kits.

Your Car’s Interior Space vs. Cargo Room

Finally, measure up your desire for comfort against your need for cargo space:

  • Passenger Comfort: Some sport models are rather spartan, but most performance vehicles provide luxury fittings and materials, as do many crew cab trucks. Smaller vehicles may leave you feeling cramped if you bring camping gear along, too.
  • Cargo Space: If your sights are set on utility, cargo space (both standard and available) should be a priority. If it doesn’t have a cavernous cargo area to start with, you’d better be able to fold down some seats.

From Performance to Utility: Find What You Need at Auffenberg CDJR

Whether you need to talk financing, arrange a test drive, or compare competing models like the RAM 1500 vs. GMC Sierra 1500, the team here at Auffenberg CDJR is always eager to be of assistance – contact us today in O'Fallon for any further help.

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